Canada Valise

A traveling kit of Canadian objects, books, and teaching materials!- a suitcase of resources sent classroom to classroom

Each school who borrows the Valise mails it to the next school on the schedule. It weighs 45 lbs. Cost to send depends on distance and carrier: $20 – $75.

Canada Valise Coordinator: Betsy Arntzen ( (207) 581 – 4225

Loan Schedule

Description | Contents | To Borrow | Availability | Contact


The CANADA VALISE is a big, hard-plastic, wheeled suitcase containing Canadian objects and a variety of teaching materials to facilitate teachers integrating Canada into the existing curriculum. Les Buell, retired, Rochester, NY-area teacher, assembled the contents. He spent many years integrating Canada in teaching American history to students in grade seven, and these are his favorite objects to teach with.

The majority of the materials relate to teaching the middle school grades, however materials may be used above and below those grade levels. Some of the materials may be particularly helpful as teacher-background for a teacher new to Canadian studies, and some may resonate with teachers who are comfortable with Canadian content.


Teachers Guide Notebook: The Notebook begins with ‘A Quick Look’, outlining the contents of the VALISE, and continues with suggestions for using the materials, such as “Materials Offering Basic Background about Canada”, “Artifacts Grouped by Province/Territory”, “Artifacts and Resources Grouped by Content Area”, and “Content Grouped by Curriculum Connections”.

Each object is addressed in tabbed sections in the Notebook, with “Background“, “Curriculum Connections“, “Resources Included” in the Notebook to augment teaching, and “Teaching Hints” from Les Buell’s years of experience using the materials. The last section is a collection of “Monthly Extra Credit” activities which illustrate one teaching style, integrating Canadian studies in American History.


  • Beaver pelt
  • Hudson Bay blanket coat
  • R.C.M.P. red surge jacket
  • RCMP arm patch
  • 2 license plates from Prince Edward Island
  • tin Province cookie cutter
  • Canadian coins
  • Flags: Canadian national flag, Hudson Bay Company flag, and tabletop flags of each province and territory

Teacher Resources:

  • Book: Introducing Canada
  • Curriculum Resources: Contemporary Art by First Nations Artists; Artists in the Arctic; and Looking at Landscape
  • CDs/DVDs: Klondike Gold; The Group of Seven; The Hockey Sweater

Student Resources:

  • Grey Owl: The Many Faces of Archie Belaney
  • Images of Nature: Canadian Poets and the Group of Seven
  • Meet the Group of Seven
  • Make Your Own Inuksuk
  • The Fur Traders
  • A Great Lakes Fur Trade Coloring Book
  • The Hockey Sweater
  • Symbols of Canada with poster

To Borrow: Terms of the Loan | Procedure for Borrowing | Shipping

Teachers may borrow the CANADA VALISE for three-week periods of time, for the cost of one-way shipping including insurance. A teacher will send it to you, and you will send it to another teacher.

Terms of the Loan: You will have the VALISE for three-weeks. Upon receiving it, use a Check List (provided) to check in and examine all of the contents. Report by e-mail to the Valise Coordinator any missing or damaged items at check-in.

At the end of the loan period, use another Check List to make sure all items are returned to the VALISE. If you detect any items are missing or damaged, please report this to the Valise Coordinator and arrange for replacement.

It is your responsibility to send the VALISE to the next teacher at the end of your loan period. You will know the name and address of the next teacher at the time of your loan. There is one week allowed in the loan schedule for the VALISE to be enroute, however it is important to send it promptly, on the Friday or Saturday of your last week. It is also important to insure it for approx $500. UPS insurance is not costly.

Procedure for borrowing the VALISE: Visit the Loan Schedule page and check for availability. Then, contact Betsy Arntzen, the Valise Coordinator ( with a request to borrow the VALISE.

Information to include in the request:

  1. Dates of Loan
  2. Your Name
  3. Your School’s Name and School’s Street Address
  4. Your E-Mail address.

The VALISE will be sent to your School’s Street address, addressed to you.

When we receive your e-mail request, we will confirm your loan dates and send you two copies of a Loan Agreement form. You are to sign both and mail one back. Your Loan Agreement will contain the name and shipping address of the next teacher to whom you will send the VALISE.

Shipping the VALISE: The CANADA VALISE is a big,  hard-plastic suitcase which does need to be boxed, but does need the luggage strap to send through UPS. It weighs about 43 lbs. Depending on the method of shipping and its destination, the cost of sending it is not something we can predict. You are welcome to choose any reasonable and effective method of shipping (including delivering it yourself), as long as it arrives to the next teacher on time. Please insure for $500.

Availability: The current schedule of availability is posted here: Loan Schedule.

Contact Information

To comment on the VALISE contents or make suggestions:
Betsy Arntzen (
154 College Ave Orono, ME 04473

To ask Les Buell about teaching Canada at the middleschool level, or to ask Les about Canadian or Civil War presentations or programs for your school in Upstate New York:
Les Buell
PO Box 303 East Williamson, NY 14449